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Highlights of The Hague

James Turrell - Celestial Vault

Machiel Vrijenhoeklaan 175, 2555 NA The Hague
James Turrell - Hemels Gewelf
Museum genre

In the dunes of The Hague, where light can have such a tangible presence, artist James Turrell created a place to gaze at the sky: "Celestial Vault" in Kijkduin. At the top of one of the rubble dunes, a bowl in the shape of an ellipse has been built, 30 meters wide and 40 meters long. A wall of earth, approximately 5 meters high encloses the bowl. Immerse yourself in this work of art and gaze at the sky like you've never done before!

Work of art in the dunes

In order to reach this artificial crater you first climb up the dune on wooden stairs and then walk through a six meter long concrete passageway. The slopes on the inside of the crater have been sown with grass and a monumental natural stone bench is in the middle on which two people can lie back and observe how the sky is a vault. A similar bench is located on a higher dune where a panorama unfolds over the sea, the beach and the flat countryside beyond. In the direction of the horizon, the vault gradually becomes flatter. For Turrell, light and space themselves are the object and one of the points he wants to make is that, during the act of observation, the observer should experience that he/she is observing.

The idea to invite Turrell first occurred when Stroom participated in the preparations for the International Conference of Landscape Architecture held in 1992 in The Hague whose theme was the relation between landscape architecture and the visual arts. The scale of the original plan of an artificial crater in the dunes was so grand that no one believed that it would ever be realized.

James Turrell - Hemels Gewelf
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